Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unedible Communion

If you have moseyed on over to my Food & Eating page, you will find there the story of my allergies to food. First lactose, then gluten. Well, this past weekend I experienced one unpleasant and unexpected result of one of these allergies. While away on a women's retreat for the weekend, I had the opportunity to partake in the Lord's Supper with a group of ladies as we celebrated Palm Sunday. I was very much enjoying the hymns we were singing and the sharing of testimonies amongst the women, and when it came time to partake in the elements (eat the bread, drink the"wine") I felt that my heart was ready to do so not in an unworthy manner (1 Cor. 11). As the server offered the plate of bread to me, to tear a piece off, I shyly shook my head and she moved on to the next lady. I'm sure part of me feared what others were thinking, and part of me was just plain discouraged at the fact that: I can't eat bread. It's made of wheat which means it contains gluten [a wheat protein]. And although I take a 'symbolic' stance on the Lord's Supper - the bread and the wine being symbols of Jesus' body and blood, and not the actual body and blood - I recognized the importance of this participation as a believer in the body of Christ. So needless to say it was slightly disheartening realization for this fairly new gluten-free dieter.
Not being able to eat the communion bread because of an allergy doesn't mean that I lose my salvation, or that I am less spiritual than anyone else.. it doesn't change a thing about me or the importance of the ceremony in general. However, my inability to participate in eating the bread which symbolizes the broken body of my Savior, serves to remind me that I live in a fallen world. Although Christ has come, conquering death by rising from the grave, the world is still not as it should be - it is not yet restored. Romans 8:18-23 talks about how creation is groaning, suffering the pains of childbirth, anxiously awaiting the final day of salvation [of the children of man] when the earth will finally be set freedom from its bondage and corruption. In other words, that which God has created, including you and I, has been marred by sin. Yet there is coming a day when God will set things right again! Including my digestive system.

So for now, when I pass up the bread on communion Sunday, I won't be disappointed. I'll be reminded that soon I will eat of it again without pain. It may be very near or it may be far off, but that time will be when I join my Savior at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And that bread will surely be way tastier anyways.

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God." -Revelation 19:7-9

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